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Nov 27 / Danielle Wright

To Apartment or Not to Apartment? That is the Question.

Life after the dorms can be the greatest time of your college life, but it can also be the most stressful. If you choose to move out of the dorms and into your own apartment while still in college it can be an extremely freeing experience. You have a place that you can finally call your own. There is no one there telling you what to do; no RA’s telling you to keep it down and making sure you don’t have candles or other contraband. You can even have pets (and I mean something more furry and cuddly than your goldfish). You could play loud music and have fifty candles burning while cuddling with your cat named Mr. Whiskers all at the same time if you really wanted to and no one would be there to tell you otherwise! Best of all, you can invite as many friends over as you want and not have to check a single one of them in at the front desk! While having your own apartment can be the best feeling in the world and the biggest step toward becoming an adult, it can also be the most stressful.

Along with all of that freedom comes some huge responsibility. I’m talking about B.I.L.L.S….bills. Now that you have all of this independence and a place to call your own, you have to pay for that place and everything that goes along with it. You will have not only your monthly rent to worry about, but you also have to pay for electricity, gas, water, Wi-Fi, groceries…the list could go on. You may be living paycheck to paycheck for quite some time. This is where the beauty of roommates comes in….you get to split everything! Having roommates can make things a lot cheaper. However, finding roommates that you don’t completely loathe living with can be a difficult feat on its own. My best advice: do whatever you can not to move in with that stranger off Craigslist looking for a roommate…things may not end well. The best course of action is to find a friend, or two, who are looking to move out of the dorms too and start looking for a place together.

So if you’re thinking about putting on your grownup pants and leaving the dorms behind to rent your first apartment, be sure to weigh the pros and cons. There will be some hefty bills to pay, but you will also have that sweet, sweet freedom you’ve been dying to have since turning eighteen. Choose wisely, my fellow Warriors!

 

Aug 28 / Danielle Wright

9 Things Every College Student Will Need This Fall

School is just around the corner. It a time of high stress and running around frantically trying to get your life together. It’s time to put the bikinis and beach balls away and trade them in for backpacks and books. It’s sad, I know. But to help make the transition a little easier, here is a list of 9 things every college student will need this fall.
1. COFFEE!!!
Or tea for those who don’t drink coffee. Either way, copious amounts of caffeine is a must! If you think you can write those long research papers and master those all night cram sessions in the UGL without it, then you are sadly mistaken, my friend. Buy yourself that expensive coffee thermos…consider it an investment in your education.
2. The coziest and fluffiest cuddle buddy.
College will make you realize you took nap time for granted all those years ago and you’ll wish you had it back. While caffeine will be your best friend throughout college, you will eventually need to get some serious shut eye. So bring your favorite blanket, teddy bear, or pillow, get comfy, curl up and catch some z’s.
3. Your Netflix password.
Sometimes school gets stressful and all you want to do it stay in bed and watch that season of Orange is the New Black. Don’t deny yourself that relaxation. Pop some popcorn, take a break, and watch a few episodes.
4. A grown up backpack.
While that Vera Bradley backpack may be the cutest thig ever and it’s totally on sale, skip it! You are going to need a backpack that can hold those heavy books and won’t crack under the pressure. I learned this one the hard way.
5. Headphones.
If you don’t already have headphones, go buy them…like now! You are going to want to listen to music a lot, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else around you does. Your roommate will thank you.
6. Coffee!
I know I already said this once, but it’s just that important. Coffee is your friend…never forget that.
7. Quarters.
Guess what…laundry costs money. You won’t always be able to go home and sooner or later you will have to break down and pay the $2.50 to wash and dry your clothes. Being an adult is hard, but it’s time to put on your big girl/boy pants (after you wash them of course).
8. Gear to battle the ever changing Michigan weather.
In college you have to walk outside to get to your classes. In Michigan that could mean in a blizzard, torrential down pour, or even hail. You never really know. So invest in a high quality hat, umbrella, rain coat, scarf, winter coat, and some gloves and rain boots. You’ll thank yourself later.
9. An agenda.
Your schedule is about to get crazy! You have classes, meetings, work, deadlines, and the occasional coffee or lunch date. Keeping track of all that in your phone calendar is great until you start to run out of space or drop your phone in a puddle (it happens…). So buy an agenda and love it like it’s your own child…it will never fail you.
Remember these 9 things when you go to college and I promise it won’t be that scary!

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Mar 28 / Danielle Wright

David Ramsey: Words of the Wise and Talented

On Tuesday, March 24th, David Ramsey came back to his alma mater to talk about the business and what it’s like working as a professional actor after you leave Wayne State. For those of you who do not know, David Ramsey is an actor who graduated from Wayne State University with a BFA degree in acting and then went on to star in shows such as, Arrow, Dexter, and Blue Bloods, just to name a few. He gave some honest advice that would be beneficial to everyone who is looking to pursue a career in acting. Here is a list of ten things I learned from David Ramsey:

1.) Honesty is the most important technique!

People want to see honesty in your acting. You have to affect people with your honesty and bareness when you act. People, such as directors and casting agents, will tune into that honesty and feel connected to you. If you believe what you are saying, then the audience will too.

2.) Never underestimate the power of good relations and connections.

It’s all about who you know and the affect you have on them. Be kind and open to everyone because all of the people that you know now and will know in the future could end up being a support system or a professional networking relationship. Knowing the right people in this business can make or break you.

3.) Steal like an artist.

This is something that theatre majors here at Wayne State have been hearing since the Intro to Theatre class they took freshman year. This means that as an artist you are constantly looking to other artists for inspiration. You observe what other artists in your field do and put it in your back pocket to use later and put your own spin on it.

4.) The transition from college to real world can be tough.

You will most likely have to leave your life behind and pick up and move somewhere like New York or L.A. to really pursue any type of successful acting career. You will need a resume, headshots, a reel, and most definitely an agent. But most importantly, you need a hunger to want to succeed in this business, because it can get tough.

5.) You will hear the word “No” a lot!

Rejection is a huge part of this business and you will be turned down way more than you will be hired. It can get discouraging. In order to survive the rejection you will face in this business, you have to have a support system of friends and family to fall back on and you have to have some thick skin. You have to be able to get back up, dust yourself off, and go to the next audition. It can take years until you find steady work. David said it took him almost three and a half years after moving to L.A. to find steady acting work and look at where he is now!

6.) If there is anything else that you can do better than or as well as you can act, then do that instead.

One thing David said that really stuck with me was, “You didn’t choose the business, the business chose you.” This is one of the toughest career fields to get into, because this business is made to keep people out. If there was anything you could do better or just as well as acting, chances are you would not be trying to pursue an acting career. This business will take everything from you and debt is almost inevitable! None of us would have chosen acting if we had something more promising to fall back on, acting chose us.

7.) Everyone is a mentor.

Even after you graduate, the learning never stops! You can learn something new from every single person you meet in this business. Just be humble enough to realize that no matter how successful you become, you never know it all. There is always something more that you can learn.

8.) What you are learning now will prove to be invaluable in the real world.

David continually stressed how much Wayne State truly taught him during his undergraduate years. He didn’t realize it while he was in school, but now working as a professional actor he realizes that he wouldn’t be where he is if it hadn’t been for the training he received from Wayne State.

9.) You are not that good and not that bad.

Talent is relative. There will always be someone more talented than you and you will be more talented than others. Stay confident, but humble in your talents. You may be good, but there is always something to improve on. If you do make it big, don’t let the fame go to your head.

10.) Be Cool.

Be cool with people. Make them laugh, charm them, be kind, and make them remember you. You can be incredibly talented, but if they don’t like you, then they probably won’t cast you. This doesn’t mean that you should just get by on your good looks and charm. It means that it’s not enough to just be talented in this business, you have to be a decent person and make people remember you.

 

Once again, the Wayne State Theatre Department has provided me with the amazing opportunity to meet and get invaluable advice from working actors. I am so thankful to be a part of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance!

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Feb 2 / Danielle Wright

Ten Things College Has Taught Me

College teaches you more than what you learn in the classroom. While classes and academic learning are a huge part of college, there is so much more to it! College has taught me:

  1. How to be independent. Living on your own in college can send you into a whirl-wind of emotions. It is liberating, exciting, and scary all at once. At first you may go a little bit wild and make some mistakes, but by your second year you start to figure some stuff out. Living on my own has taught me that my parents were right when they said “Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.” You have to do your own laundry, buy your own groceries, figure out your own finances, do taxes, and work…a lot!! While it was all very overwhelming at first, it has taught me how to be independent.
  2. Who my real friends are. You go into college with all of these friends from high school who you think will be your friends for life. While this can definitely happen, sometimes it doesn’t and friends drift apart. Some of your friends may go to different colleges, hours away or across state borders and those phone calls you promised each other start to become less and less frequent. You meet friends your freshman year who you spend every waking hour with, but by sophomore year you don’t even speak to them. Sometimes you have a huge group of friends, old and new, but when times get tough you figure out who will actually be there for you when it counts. Some friends are what I like to call “sometime friends.” They are the ones who will occasionally have lunch with you, say “Hi” when you pass on the way to class, or who you ask for notes when you miss a lecture. Your real friends are those who will answer your calls at three in the morning because you are freaking out, who will be there with a tub of ice cream and chick flicks when you go through a bad breakup, and the ones who will be your designated hair holder when your night takes a turn for the worst. Some friends just outgrow one another while others grow stronger and there is nothing wrong with either one.
  3. How to better budget my money (this one is still a work in progress). Life is expensive! You have to pay for classes, books, food, gas, rent, and of course coffee because surviving college without it just doesn’t seem possible. Sometimes your wallet gets a little tight. Things can get stressful when you’re trying to keep your finances straight. Luckily there are apps for that! Three great apps that have helped me are RetaillMeNot, Mint, and my bank’s mobile app. These apps can help you save, budget, and keep track of your account balances. However, even with all of this technological help, this is still college and things will always be tight when it comes to money. There will be times that you have to decide between spending money to go out with your friends and eating for the rest of the week. But making those tough financial decisions and learning how to save and spend your money wisely is a huge part of being in college and living on your own.
  4. I have learned more about myself as a person than I ever thought I would. College is all about finding yourself. Sometimes what you learn and who you become can surprise you. Just remember that it’s ok to change your career path, future goals, life plans, friends, point of view, and even majors and minors. College is all about change, so don’t be afraid of it.
  5. That calendars and agendas will be your best friends until the day you graduate and maybe even after. Life can get a little hectic and busy! Class, work, homework, friends, family…there can be a lot going on at once and it all needs your attention. If you don’t write things down and keep track of all you have going on, you can get very overwhelmed trying to remember everything. My agenda and phone calendar have saved my life on more than one occasion. It has saved me from missing assignment deadlines and shifts at work. In order to stay sane and keep track of all you have going on, keep yourself organized and utilize the resources you have in order to do so.
  6. What the word “stressed” really means and how to handle it. Like I said before, life can get a little crazy. Trying to get everything done can seem like an impossible feat and breakdowns will happen. One thing that I have learned is that while you may want to be involved in as much as possible, you have to be able to know when you have enough on your plate. I have found that staying organized, making a little “me” time for Netflix and ice cream, and having good friends to help you de-stress and have a little fun are all things that can be incredibly helpful in trying to manage stress. Sadly, there’s no way to avoid it all together, but being able to lessen it in any way will help tremendously!
  7. Your advisor will be your savior. At first, I thought that I didn’t need my advisor and I could handle everything on my own. After a couple weeks I realized I was wrong. College is confusing and completely different than high school. You need to make sure that you have all the gen. eds and credits you need every semester and figuring out your schedule in order to make that happen can be overwhelming. Your advisor knows all of the secrets and has magical scheduling powers, so meet with them and ask questions. They are here to help!
  8. That if you have an 8 am class no one expects you to look good.It’s 8am on a college campus. Half of your classmates were up all night finishing that ten page research paper while the other half had a few too many while out with their friends last night. It is an unspoken, campus-wide agreement that, before noon, no judgment will be passed when you go to class looking like you stepped straight out of an episode of the Walking Dead.
  9. That it is ok to make mistakes! If you are going to mess up these are the years to do it. College is when you are figuring things out and sometimes you have to learn things the hard way by screwing up a few times before you get it right. As cheesy as it sounds, you learn from your mistakes. So by all means, make mistakes! Maybe not life-changing mistakes, but little ones that help you learn what not to do next time. If you don’t question your judgment at least a few times during your college career, then you aren’t doing college right!
  10. You may think that you are a totally independent adult now, but the truth is that you still need your mommy and daddy sometimes and that is nothing to be ashamed of.     When I first went away to college I thought that it meant I was an independent adult who didn’t need her parents to lean on anymore. After about two weeks, I came to the realization that I was incredibly wrong. There are still so many things I don’t know and in the past two years of college I have had to make some tough decisions that I needed my parents’ guidance on. I still don’t fully understand how taxes work, sometimes my car makes weird sounds that only my dad can fix, and sometimes boys are stupid and the only one who understands is my mom. I am not ashamed to admit that I just turned 20 and I need my parents now more than ever.
Dec 3 / Danielle Wright

Greek Life

“Oh my gosh, you are such a sorority girl!” I have heard this statement too many times to count. A majority of the time it is said by someone whose only knowledge of Greek life has come from what they have seen in movies. According to the media, we are excessive partiers, we don’t care about school, we live off of daddy’s money, and my absolute favorite…we pay for our friends. Most people have no idea what it actually means to be a sorority girl.

We are not excessive partiers. We are college students. Occasionally, at the end of a long week filled with papers, exams, classes, and work, we want to relax and celebrate the fact that we survived another week of college life. However, while we like to have fun and unwind, we also know when it is time to be serious and study. Many sororities have GPA requirements and weekly study hours that must be met in order to fully participate in all chapter events during the semester. Often times, the sorority GPA matches or surpasses that of the University’s standards. We take our education seriously, and have high career goals set for our futures. In addition to being serious about our studies, many of us have jobs, are members of and hold positions in non-Greek organizations, and give back to our communities. Every sorority has local organizations and a main philanthropy that they support. Not only do we do work for our own sorority’s philanthropy, but we also help other organizations on campus and their philanthropies by attending their events and showing our support.

Now to discredit my favorite stereotype….we pay for our friends. We pay dues that cover all the expenses of a house (if we have one) and the events we do as a chapter that encompass a wide range of things including philanthropic and sisterhood events. The money that we pay monthly in no way pays for the bonds that we create by being members of Greek life. By being a member of a sorority I have created life-long friendships with so many amazing women both in my own sorority and those in other sororities on campus. I have an entire community of women that will be there for me when I need someone to laugh with, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to get lunch and coffee with. They are my family. While I am new to Greek life, I can’t imagine my life without the incredible women that I have met since joining my sorority!

To be a sorority women means being a smart and goal oriented college student. It means giving back to the community and helping those around you. It means being involved on and off campus. It means creating life-long friendships with hundreds of absolutely amazing women. So when someone says, “You are such a sorority girl,” it is actually an incredible compliment! I am proud to wear my letters and say that I am a sorority woman.

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Nov 4 / Danielle Wright

Dark Legacy: Twisted but True

Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday with all of the pumpkins, candy, costumes, ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and zombies! During the month of October I had the opportunity to express my love for this amazing holiday by working as an actor in a brand new haunted house called Dark Legacy in Wixom, MI. It was an experience that I will never forget and it taught me more than I ever thought that it would. Working at a haunted house probably doesn’t sound like a huge acting job, but it offered me a lot of great experience and taught me a thing or two about working as a professional actor.

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom that working at the haunted house taught me:

1) Be flexible.

Often times we were not assigned to the same scare and had to be able to perform in any room we were assigned to. In the professional acting world you have to be able to be flexible and go with the flow when need be.

2) Think on your toes and be ready to improvise.

You get your room assignment when you arrive for work that night and you have to use your own creativity to create a scare that would work with your character and that room. There are often times that you will be asked to keep a group of customers, or victims as we called them at Dark Legacy, in your room in order to keep an adequate amount of space between them and the group ahead of them to give the actors ahead of you time to reset their scares. This means changing your scare for that specific group while still staying completely in character in order to make them stop and stay in your room for a while rather than just rushing through. In a professional acting job you have to be ready and expect the unexpected. You should always be ready to improvise if need be and you should never break character!

3) Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t like.

The makeup for the haunted house was very detailed, gruesome, and elaborate. We all looked fantastic and terrifying! But our horrific monster faces were not easy to remove after a long night of scaring. The makeup was all over our faces, in our hair, down our necks, on our arms, hands, and fingernails. They used latex, spirit gum, prosthetics, fake blood, airbrush makeup, and crème makeup. Ripping off latex, scrubbing off the sticky fake blood, and aggressively rubbing off the long lasting airbrush and crème makeup after wearing it for hours was possibly the most pain and trauma my skin has faced. While we all looked petrifyingly awesome and without it we would not have been able to bring the haunted house to life, no one looked forward to the process of putting on and taking off the makeup. As a professional actor sometimes you have to do things that you wouldn’t normally do or things that you aren’t too fond of if it means making your finished product a piece of art that you and everyone else involved can be proud of.

4) Know how to take criticism.

Being a brand new haunted house this year there were expectations that we had to live up to, not to mention the competition against other haunted houses. We were constantly being reviewed and not all of them were nice. As a professional actor you have to be able to handle criticism and rejection. You will most likely hear the word “no” more than “yes” and it can be discouraging at times. But to be a professional actor you must be able to not let it get you down and keep doing what you love.

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Sep 23 / Danielle Wright

Once Upon a September with Liz Callaway

This school year has already started off with a bang! Thanks to Detroit’s very own Cabaret 313, I was able to fulfil my childhood dream and meet the ever so talented Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway!!! Liz Callaway is famous for providing the singing voices of many beloved female characters in animated movies, such as Anya/Anastasia in Anastasia (my favorite movie ever and the reason I fangirled so hard when I found out I was going to be in the same room as her!), Odette in The Swan Princess, Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and the King of Thieves and Return of Jafar, and the adult Kiara in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. She made her debut on Broadway in Steven Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (1981). Her other stage credits include Baby, The Three Musketeers, The Spitfire Grill, Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, Cats, and Miss Saigon.

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to have a master class with Liz Callaway right here at Wayne State. There were select students that were able to sing for her and hear her feedback. While I was not one of the students singing for her, I was able to sit in on the class and hear some of her advice and critiques. She had some really great advice for singing, performing, and auditioning. Some of her great nuggets of wisdom were:

1) While preparing your song write out the lyrics of your song in prose to get a better understanding of them, so you know what you’re singing. Also try practicing your song in monologue form rather than just singing it. This will help you to not only better understand the words and the message of your song, but it can help you attach emotions to the words which will help to make your performance so much more powerful.

2) When you’re singing you are telling a story. You need more than just your voice to tell a story. You have to use your face and body as well.

3) You’re singing in reaction to something, so you have to know who you are singing to and what happened right before you started singing.

4)Make sense of the breaks/rests in the music. While the breaks and rests are there, it doesn’t mean you have to take them. Do what feels right to you.

5) Don’t be afraid to make the song your own!

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